The Orange County Training School began in 1913 as Hackney's Educational and Industrial School – which soon became known merely as the Hackney School and colloquially as "Hack's High School" – as a high school serving the local African American community. The school was located west of Merritt Mill Road (then also known as New Mill Road), between West Franklin Street and Cameron Avenue in Chapel Hill.
Orange County Training School (building on left), view north west, circa 1916 (Jackson Davis Collection of African American Educational Photographs, University of Virginia Library)
Excerpt from the December 1915 Sanborn map of Chapel Hill
Within a few years of the school's beginning, funding became problematic; student tuition, publicly-provided funds, and contributions from local churches were inadequate to meet expenses. In 1916, members of the Chapel Hill School District Board of Directors apparently approached Dr. Hackney with the suggestion of consolidating the school and the local black primary and/or graded school (known as the "Quaker School," located to the north of the Hackney School, at the intersection of Merritt Mill Road and West Franklin Street). Dr. Hackney sold the property to the Board of Trustees for the school for $2,300, who then sold it to Orange County. The school was then renamed the Orange County Training School, with a Mr. Malone as the school's first principal.
On June 12, 1922, the school building, Flanner-Carr House, and several outbuildings burned down when some boarders in the Flanner-Carr House accidentally started a fire in the kitchen (the June 1925 Sanborn map of Chapel Hill shows only one structure still extant at this location). In 1924, after a year or two of students being taught in various locations throughout the area, Henry Stroud donated land between present-day McMaster and Caldwell streets in the Northside neighborhood, and the Orange County Training School was reestablished at the new site, in a new, brick Rosenwald-funded school building; its cornerstone was laid in a well-attended public ceremony September 1, 1924.